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*Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Resilience and leadership have come clearly to the surface during Inagh/Kilnamona’s championship run to their date, their coach has maintained.

Tomás Kelly, formerly a midfielder for The Combo has swapped the engine room for the cones and sliotars as the coach behind their run to the final this year.

On the back of their semi-final win over Éire Óg, Kelly pointed to the character shown by the Inagh/Kilnamona men. “We knew coming in that we were going to have a massive battle with a fantastic Éire Óg team who threw everything at us. We had a lot of setbacks but there was massive resilience from the lads to keep bouncing back and with a lot of injuries being picked up, the strength of our panel showed in the end and it might have been the difference between the two teams”.

Unbeaten to date, Tomás said the performances have been accompanied by real leadership from their players. “In every game, we’ve been tested and one of the things that was being questioned by us as a team and maybe as a club has been our resilience and leadership or lack of same. I think today showed that we do have the leaders and we do have the resilience. I think that even came down to the penalty save at the end”.

Recent semi-final defeats have been answered following their win over Éire Óg, the Tulla based secondary school teacher stated. “There was a bit of pressure there after a few semi-final defeats. We have been questioned and thankfully we’ve reached a final now but we’ve nothing won yet. So while today is great and we’re thrilled to get over the line, we know what’s coming in the final is going to be mammoth.”

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